How Do We Encourage Civil Online Dialogue in a Web of Cyberbullies, Trolls, Bots and Flames?

Concurrent Session 10

Brief Abstract

In this "Conversation, Not Presentation" we will discuss how to encourage civil online dialogue in a web of cyberbullies, trolls. bots and flames. A single slide will present our question with a few moments used to define key terms before entering the discussion.


Jason is a Ph.D. student in Education and the Director of Teaching and Learning for the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky. He has 13+ years of experience utilizing creative technology to increase student learning and engagement. His experience in instructional design and technology implementation is through creating 20+ unique educational courses to instruct junior high, high school, university and adult learners. This experience serves as the foundation for his continual development around him of instructors, curriculum, and online course delivery. He also currently serves on a Universal Design task force and helps UK evaluate software platforms as needed. Jason earned both an M.Div and M.Ed in Educational Technology which guides his continued quest to discover how to best leverage today’s technology to drive student success.

Extended Abstract

Main Question:

  • How can we encourage civil, educational dialogue in our face to face and online classes?

Key Questions:

  • What are the main concerns regarding civil dialog in our current society?

  • What are the main concerns regarding civil dialog in our online and face to face classrooms? What examples have you seen in your administration or instruction?

  • Should “hot topics” like politics, race, gender equality, LGBQT+, and religion be discussed in our schools? Or should we just avoid them all together?

  • Should instructors give opinions or take more of a “non-directive therapist” approach?

  • What responsibility do instructors have to follow up with students outside of class regarding difficult conversations?

  • What limits (if any) should we put on hot topic discussion online?

  • What strategies can be employed to make classroom face to face conversations productive? Can these strategies be applied to the online environment? How should we approach online discussion differently?

  • How do we not just "police" the dialogue, but create students who emulate characteristics like empathy, understanding, and civil discussion? Is this the role of the instructor?